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Thanks, Obama: Franken's hot dish cook-off postponed by SCOTUS announcement

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Hot dish is off the menu in Washington, D.C. today.

Sen. Al Franken's annual cook-off competition – where Minnesota's U.S. senators and representatives pit their favorite homestate recipe against one another – was scheduled for Wednesday, but has been postponed, his office said in a news release.

Why? Well, this.

President Barack Obama will announce his nomination for the open U.S. Supreme Court seat at 10 a.m. this morning. And Franken is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which holds hearings on Supreme Court nominees.

The spot's been vacant since the death of former Justice Antonin Scalia last month – and when it would get filled has been a source of controversy.

Controversy over the nomination

Obama sent a letter to supporters Wednesday morning, according to a White House news release, saying his pick is "eminently qualified" for the job.

There was some pushback from Republicans, who say Obama shouldn't move to fill the Supreme Court opening since he'll leave office at the end of 2016 – an argument the president brushed aside, saying he would fulfill his "constitutional responsibility" to nominate someone.

But there are political stakes as well.

Scalia was a traditionally conservative voice on the nine-member Supreme Court, which otherwise was evenly split between liberal-leaning and conservative-leaning justices. His death means Obama's replacement could end the bench’s conservative majority, Forbes says.

However, the Senate – which is controlled by Republicans – has to approve whomever Obama nominates, and the senators could block a candidate they don't agree with.

In an attempt to avoid that, Obama will probably try to find someone who at least some Republicans would find acceptable to replace Scalia, CNN reported.

"I’m doing my job. I hope that our Senators will do their jobs, and move quickly to consider my nominee," Obama's letter reads. "That is what the Constitution dictates, and that’s what the American people expect and deserve from their leaders."

CNN thinks it knows who it is – Merrick Garland, a chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Update: CNN was correct. Obama nominated Garland, noting in the pitch Garland has more federal judicial experience than any nominee in history.

Here's the New York Times' take, calling Garland a "centrist" judge who is highly regarded in Washington D.C.

Franken said in a statement Wednesday afternoon he was "glad" to be at the White House during the announcement, and said he expects the Senate to "fulfill [its] obligations," examine Garland's record and vote. Franken also pointed the finger at Republicans in the Senate if things get "bogged down by political games."

So what about the hot dish?

The hot dish competition will be put on hold, and take place "another day," Franken's news release says.

Specifics weren't available yet, but the office said to stay tuned for updates.

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